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When The Iranians Came To Jerusalem

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The first wave of Jewish immigrants arrived in 1886. Penniless and pious, they built tin homes for themselves and prioritized their synagogues.

Traditionally, Iranian Jews auction off the rights to synagogue honors, and the highest bidder wins. But at Ohavei Zion synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neve Shalom neighborhood there was one exception: When worshippers began sparring for the right to open the ark during Yom Kippur’s Kol Nidre service, the auctioneer would pound his gavel and yell “sold” as soon as Meir Banai offered 50 liras.

No one minded, even though the honor was worth a lot more than 50 liras. They knew that Banai, a fruit and vegetable vender, was not a rich man, and that this particular honor was his. For during the War of Independence, when his son Avraham was wounded and captured by the Jordanians, Banai had made a vow. Should Avraham come back to him, he had sworn, he would buy this particular honor every year as long as he lived. Six months later, his son returned home.

Not long ago, we joined a tour entitled: Parsim in Jerusalem, with “Parsim” the Israeli name for Jews of Iranian (Persian) descent. Leading us through the earliest Iranian neighborhoods in Jerusalem was the multi-faceted Tal Chenya: lecturer, tour guide and master storyteller.

During our jaunt he regaled us with fascinating stories about Parsim who made the difficult trip to the Holy Land in the late 19th century. We learned that they came here with little but the shirts on their backs, but with an immense love for Israel in their hearts.

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Read the full article over at The Times of Israel

 

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Testimonials
Dear Aviva and Shmuel , Just a note to thank you for all of your help on our trip to Israel. Aviva .. your great ideas for the day we were on our own plus your help in booking everything was really helpful and made our first night and day very exciting .Shmuel ..apart from the fact that the kids thought you may actually be one of Supermans cousins .. we really had a fantastic trip. What you managed to show us in Jerusalem considering William is only 8 was amazing. Both the kids loved the water tunnel ( even after a small initial scare !). The day doing Masada ,En Gedi and the Dead Sea was really the most exciting day for us all . Our Israeli friends who came over to join us from Tel Aviv said there was no way they would have been able to fit in so much. Everyone loved it !
Regards, David Glazer .. (and Joel and William)

the Glazer Family